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Chapter 2 – The Dimensional Leader: Discovering Eliab

Eliab the Elder

Samuel was regarded as a great prophet, priest and judge in the Old Testament. He was highly respected throughout the community of Israel for his prophetic insight and integrity. His main responsibility was to hear the voice of God for Israel and dispense these messages to the intended recipient. In this upcoming scenario it was time for a leadership change in Israel since King Saul had proven to be a poor leader. God was preparing Samuel to anoint His new choice. He tells the prophet to go to the house of Jesse who lives in Bethlehem and anoint one of his sons as the new king. The problem with this directive was that Jesse had eight sons. Which one would he choose or was it up to him? To Samuel’s surprise it happened to be a young man in his youth, probably in his mid teens. This is how the story goes:

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7)

This Scripture gives us a powerful insight into God’s selection process for leaders. According to this passage the traits mankind tends to look for in their leaders are the outward qualities such as good looks, physical stature, pedigree, wealth and charisma. These are qualities that are evident as they can be seen with the physical eye. Eliab, the eldest of Jesse’s eight sons, was tall, physically trimmed and attractive; qualities that are desired by the public for a spotlight persona. However when God chooses His leaders He has a different plan in mind than the obvious one. God’s selection and appointment process is quite different from ours. As Jesse’s seven sons where presented before Samuel he thought for sure that God’s choice leader stood before him in the person of 20 unit: dominoqq but he was quickly checked by God. God looks much deeper into the heart and soul of a man rather than external features such as height and appearance. Should we be quick to blame Samuel for his impulsive selection? Author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink, states that “most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like, and the stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations.” God does not look at the outer appearance of man to judge a person’s leadership ability rather He looks much deeper within, into the person’s heart to see the character of a person since His X-ray vision can read the inner core of a person’s motives and makeup. Samuel’s frustration was easily detected when each of Jesse’s seven sons did not make the cut. The narrative continues:

So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent and had him brought in. He [David] was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. (1 Samuel 16:11-13)

Have you ever been the last person chosen to be on a team? It feels quite demeaning when you are the last one selected. You stand there wondering if the team got stuck with someone they did not want in the first place. In this case God did not choose the most obvious one to be king rather He selected a boy in his teenage years to succeed Saul as the new king. It is noted when David entered Samuel’s presence that a voice reverberated inside Samuel’s mind saying, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” This royal christening was done in the presence of Jesse’s seven other sons. Keep in mind that Eliab saw this selection process take place. He was overlooked while his younger brother was accepted and anointed king over Israel. I wonder what went through Eliab’s mind at this point. I believe, within Eliab’s heart and mind, an emotional escalation began to take place, one that could have been controlled if someone had taken the time to help him process his feelings in such a way as to restore Eliab to his proper role in life.

Eliab’s Emotional Escalation

1. Unprocessed Feelings
The process of elimination in choosing a king and the eventual selection of David left Eliab with feelings of rejection that went unprocessed, thus, without proper guidance and counseling left his unprocessed feelings in a raw state. This unresolved hurt opened the door in his life for envy, jealousy and bitterness to fill his heart. The combination of these feelings escalated to a state of bitterness. Do you blame Eliab? After all he was passed up for the most prestigious position in the known world at that time. In my opinion it would have been devastating and hurtful to a young man looking for his place in the world. Feelings and emotions are a powerful force in our lives and we need to learn about them so that we can manage them in the right way. Most of your accomplishments will depend on your emotional control; the ability to identify, process, and manage your emotions around others.

2. Anger
Hurt and rejection can lead anyone into a stage of anger if these issues are not addressed and processed correctly. Processing our feelings will take time and at times extensive dialogue with others about the origin and solutions for managing our anger. God created us to feel strong emotions and at times our emotions can get out of control but not at the expense of others. If we do not learn how to properly process our feelings then they can easily escalate to the stage of anger and resentment. James, the writer of the epistle that bears his name, claims that anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires in our own lives (James 1:20). Anger removes us relationally out of favor with others. Anger is an indication that something is still seething inside the heart of a person. Anger can be managed for awhile but sooner or later it will strike again without warning. Anger is the result of hurt and unprocessed feelings, and it often times leads to cynicism.

3. Cynicism
If anger persists without proper adjudication it will lead to cynicism. I once heard someone say that cynicism originally meant yapping like a dog. Have you ever experienced a yapping dog? They can be quite annoying. They yap at you from a distance but they never seem to come close to you. As soon as you draw close to a yapping dog it runs away and hides behind a couch and yes, continues yapping. People yap in the same way. You will know when someone is mad at you because they will distance themselves from you. This is what happens to a yapper who does not process their anger in the proper way. They become cynical and murmur behind a person’s back. The next time you encounter that person, your mere presence will stir up all kinds of ill feelings inside of them. However, it does not stop here, a cynical person becomes critical.